NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Ten-time GOtv Shield champions Gor Mahia have been dumped out of this year’s tournament after a 1-0 loss at the hands of Nzoia United, Edgar Nzano’s penalty doing all the damage to a club that has struggled over the last one month.
The talk before the game was all about head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira’s decision to axe goalkeeping coach Mathews Ottamax from the team over what he termed as ‘breaking the rules’.
“We have rules in the team, and I guess everyone does. When you break the rules, then you cannot be in the team. We talked on Friday with him and the players and we made everything clear,” the Brazilian said pre-match.
Under pressure Ferreira had made some changes to his team, Enock Agwanda partnering Jacques Tuyisenge up in attack at the expense of Meddie Kagere who started on the bench.
In the absence of usual starter Karim Nizigiyimana at right back, Luke Ochieng was handed his second start of the season while in goal, Jerim Onyango who has been the preferred starter in cup competitions found himself on the bench with Boniface Oluoch preferred ahead of him.
The two sides came into the match all attack especially in the first half. Gor had the first opportunity, Agwanda breaking into the box in the 4thminute but Nzoia defender Brian Otieno stretched to hit the ball off for a corner.
The hosts had a great chance in the 8th minute but Brian Yakhama fired wide under pressure from two Gor defenders. A minute later, Masita Masuta also had a chance after turning Ochieng inside out on the left, but his eventual shot was an easy pick for Boniface Oluoch in the Gor goal.
On the other end, Agwanda had three more chances come his way but both went begging. In the 13th minute, he raced to the near post to meet a cross from Erick Ouma, but the ball took an awkward bounce in front of him and went wide.
Three minutes later, he was sent through on goal by Francis Kahata, but Nzoia keeper Benson Mangala was faster off his line to block Agwanda’s attempt with his feet.
In the 26th minute, he raced onto another long ball, but his attempt to head over Mangala was futile as the keeper picked the ball easily airborne.
Nzoia broke the deadlock on the half hour mark, Nzano sending Oluoch the wrong way from the penalty spot after Ernest Wendo blocked Peter Gin’s shot with his arms.
Gor had a double chance to make amends in the 41stminute but they could not unlock the Nzoia backline.
Luke Ochieng pounced on a ball dropped by Nzoia keeper Mangala from a Francis Kahata corner, but his eventual shot was cleared on the goal line. Kahata floated the cleared ball back into the area but Harun Shakava’s header went over.
Gor were better starters in the second half and Tuyisenge who was a silent figure all through the opening 45 finally burst into life.
He was presented with two aerial opportunities with crosses from Ouma and Ochieng, but both went wide.
In the 65th minute, Marcelo made his first change, bringing on Baron Oketch for Ernest Wendo, meaning Gor now operated without a defensive midfielder.
Five minutes later, Marcelo completely threw caution out of the window, pulling out right back ochieng for striker Kagere, a change that saw midfielder Amos Nondi operate as a wingback.
But despite the two attacking changes by Gor, it was Nzoia who had the better of chances. Nzau should have doubled his and the team’s tally in the 73nd minute from a corner, but he hit the ball with his back unmarked when he raced into the near post.
Yakhama had the best and easiest of chances to completely take the game away but he saw Oluoch’s finger tips push the ball onto the crossbar after tapping in a cross from substitute Patrick Kwitonda completely unmarked inside the six yard box.
But his blushes were spared with Bernard Mwalala’s side holding on till the end of the game for a ticket into the last eight.